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Recap / Babylon Five S 03 E 10 Severed Dreams

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The war for independence.

Severed Dreams

That's what makes this war different from anything we have ever gone through before. This time we know everyone we kill.
-Major Ed Ryan

A fan favorite episode and winner of the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, 1997.

Londo is making his way through customs, complaining about the mess everything is in, and particularly about the Narns the station's brought on as extra security, which the Narn checking identicards doesn't much care for and makes the ambassador wait for a couple hours due to a "computer error."

Londo: Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would have happened if the humans had not started fighting with one another!

The Alexander is in one of those fights right now, with the cruiser Clarkstown in pursuit, and firing a shot that strikes the Alexander amidships. On the bridge, the man in command, Major Ryan, reluctantly authorizes opening fire on the other ship, and the Alexander easily destroys the Clarkstown. Ryan comments on how he met the Clarkstown's CO before — General Hague introduced them — and how this war is different, for now they know everyone they kill. He comments that he'll have to find something to say to both their wives... but for now, the Alexander needs repairs, and there is only one safe port for them: Babylon 5.

This is bad news for the B5 command staff; as soon as the Alexander arrives, their involvement with the anti-Clark movement is going to have to come out. Sheridan has Garibaldi put a kill switch in the comm system so no one can alert anyone as to the Alexander's location, except for one line for them and ISN, their link to home.

Meanwhile, Delenn and Lennier bring Dr. Franklin to a wounded Ranger in the docking bay. They need to get him past security, but they don't know which of the Narns they can trust, but G'Kar, who suddenly appears, does and offer to help.

ISN is running a story on the Mars government refusing to implement the martial law order when the Alexander arrives. The comms are cut, and Sheridan makes an announcement to the C&C crew, taking full responsibility for this course of action, and allows anyone who wishes to leave to do so. No one does.

In Medlab, the Ranger explains that many of the League of Non-Aligned worlds have allied with the Shadows and are making war with each other, and the Grey Council has decided not to intervene.

Major Ryan meets with Sheridan and gives them a rundown of the situation, and it's not good. General Hague is dead, killed in the fight with the Clarkstown; public opinion is actually in favor of martial law, since it actually seems to be a benefit; ISN can't say too much or they'll be shut down; and Clark-loyalists are so ingrained in Earthforce that it's almost impossible for anybody to speak out. The only hope is Mars' refusal of the order. Sheridan doesn't think Clark will be able to do much about it, but soon after a message comes that Earthforce is bombing Mars. Cut to the Red Planet, where the radio operator fruitlessly begs a Thunderbolt fleet to not open fire before missiles are fired on a habitation dome.

Angry at their indifference, Delenn leaves the station to confront the Grey Council and make them see reason. As she leaves, another ship, the Churchill, arrives. Its CO, Captain Hiroshi, wants to speak with the command staff in person.

The ISN anchor is reporting on the Mars attacks, saying there's been no response from the outer colonies, but another reporter interrupts with information that several of them have broken away, and shock troops are actually moving in on ISN itself. Gunfire is heard, explosions rock the studio and then the feed is abruptly cut.

Hiroshi's news is that Clark is sending his forces to seize direct control of the outer colonies, including Babylon 5. This means Babylon 5 is absolutely screwed, as is the Alexander; the loyalist forces know that the Alexander is in B5 space, and even if they didn't, they're coming for the station anyway. Although the other governments will be horrified, they can't intervene due to the chaos caused by the Shadows, so B5 and the meager fleet that has gathered are on their own. Ryan offers to lure some of the loyalist fleet away, but Sheridan declines, knowing this is their last fight. Hiroshi and Ryan leave, and Sheridan asks Ivanova, Garibaldi and Franklin if they surrender or fight.

Ivanova: I say fight.
Garibaldi: Fight.
Franklin: Fight.
Sheridan: (grim smile) Fight.

In hyperspace, a massive fleet heads toward battle.

Sheridan gives orders for the station to ready for battle, then goes to make a call. Delenn arrives on the Council's cruiser and forces her way in to see them. She delivers a blistering recount of their faults and inaction, accusing them of being lost in their pride, and no longer believing the prophecies that had lead them for a thousand years. She siezes the leader's staff, and breaks it, and the Council. She then calls those who will to follow her as she storms out, five of the hooded figures following after her.

Back on the station, Sheridan makes a call to his father, since he doesn't know when he'll be able to again. The elder Sheridan reminds him of the first lesson he taught him, "Never start a fight, but always finish it."

In C&C, Sheridan makes an announcement via Draal's holographic projections:

In the last few hours we have learned that warships are coming this way from Earth. Their orders are to seize command of Babylon 5 by force. As commanding officer and military governor of Babylon 5, I cannot allow this to happen. President Clark has violated the Earth Alliance constitution by dissolving the Senate, declaring martial law, and personally ordering the bombing of civilian targets on the Mars Colony. He is personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people! Following these attacks, Orion 7 and Proxima III have broken away from the Earth Alliance and declared independence. Babylon 5 now joins with them. As of this moment Babylon 5 is seceding from the Earth Alliance. We will remain an independent state until President Clark is removed from office. At the end of this current crisis, anyone who wishes to leave for Earth is free to do so. Meanwhile, for you own safety I urge everyone to stay in your quarters until this is over. That is all.

With that, they make final preparations and wait for the attack. Ivanova requests to lead the Starfury squadron, which Sheridan only agrees to when she points out that they're facing an unprecedented situation that flies in the face of their training. Moments later, the attack force comes through the jumpgate and the lead ship, the Agrippa, orders them to surrender. As the Alexander, Churchill, and station launch fighters, Sheridan tries to talk the loyalist fleet down:

Sheridan: This is Captain John Sheridan, Babylon 5. You are executing an illegal order in violation of the Earth Alliance Constitution. These orders have forced us to declare independence in order to ensure the safety of this station. We don't want a fight, but if you attempt to carry out these orders, we will defend ourselves. Come on, Captain, you must see that these orders are wrong. Leave while you still can.

However, the loyalist fleet commence their attack.

Fighting is fierce and losses are heavy on both sides. Garibaldi goes to repel a boarding crew, but the Narns rush ahead of him and get caught in a killing zone. The Churchill takes catastrophic damage and rams an enemy destroyer, destroying both ships. Ivanova collides with another fighter and is forced to eject, while the boarding action has devolved into a giant brawl in close quarters. Finally the last enemy ship is destroyed, but almost immediately a new wave arrives. Then a set of jump points form right next to the station, but it's three Minbari warcruisers, and the White Star. Delenn declares that Babylon 5 is under her protection, and when the loyalists try to protest, she practically dares them to try something, going as far as to remind them that Babylon 5 is commanded by the only Earthforce captain who managed to defeat a Minbari fleet. Realizing how untenable their situation has become, the attack fleet leaves rather than engage Minbari ships.

Afterwards, Ryan and Sheridan are discussing their situation, specifically, their pilots. Sheridan says that about thirty percent of the station's fighters were damaged or destroyed in the battle and it's not likely they'll be getting replacements anytime soon. Ryan states that the surviving Churchill fighters are homeless, and Ryan suggests Sheridan to take them on and bring the station's fighter complement up to full strength. Sheridan said that while he didn't know Captain Hiroshi very well, he would be honored to give her pilots a new home. Ryan, meanwhile, is going to leave, to split Earthforce's attention, and to look for any other rebel ships. Sheridan goes to meet with Delenn, finding Garibaldi seeing the Nightwatch members off station, the ones they know about, at least. They'll have to be on guard for sabotage for a while.

Delenn arrives and Sheridan expresses his gratitude, then Ivanova comes and takes them to see something. A large crowd is gathered in the Zocalo who begin applauding as Sheridan and the others appear.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: When the EAS Agrippa is nearly destroyed, Sheridan calls it to ask its surrender, but he calls it the Roanoke instead (the Roanoke being the other Omega-class destroyer that came in the initial attack).
  • Badass Boast: Delenn has two:
    • To a Minbari trying to prevent her from seeing the Grey Council:
    "I have served the council for sixteen cycles. I was the chosen of Dukhat to replace him. I held him when he died. His blood is on my hands, his spirit in my eyes... his word on my lips. You will stand aside in his name and mine, or, in Valen's name, I will tear this ship apart with my bare hands until I find them! Move aside!"
    • To the Clark-loyalist fleet, upon being told not to "force them" to engage her:
    "Why not? Only one Human captain has survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else."
    • The assault fleet proceeds to RUN LIKE HELL.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The fight between the Earthforce attackers and B5's forces takes up almost a third of the episode and includes what is, by general consensus, the greatest Moment of Awesome in the entire series.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Delenn shows up just as it seems Earthforce is about to overrun the station — with three Minbari war cruisers and the White Star.
  • Boarding Party: Earthforce sends one to try and take the station. It doesn't end well for them.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Clark-loyalist reinforcements attempting to give orders to three Minbari cruisers, despite Sheridan being the only human to ever win a battle against the Minbari fleet. Delenn's reminder of this has them retreat before it becomes lethal.
  • Bus Crash: Hague is killed in action before reaching Babylon 5. (Behind the scenes, his actor was double-booked to appear on Deep Space Nine, as Major Ryan explains in an outtake).
  • Bystander Syndrome: As part of toeing a fine line, ISN kept mum about all the atrocities going on outside of Earth. But when Clark sends his forces after ISN anyway, Rick, another reporter, interrupts Jane to try to tell the audience the truth before they're silenced.
  • Call-Back: The Narns in Security are shown prominently, much to Londo's annoyance. From here until the end of the series, whenever Security personnel are shown, there will usually be a Narn or two among them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In "Exogenesis", Ivanova felt Lt. Corwin out about obeying a direct order. He said at the time that it wasn't his call to make. When Babylon 5 secedes, she checks with him; "You okay?" He's just fine, much to his surprise.
    • When Delenn leaves the Grey Council's chamber, five members of the Council follow her out. Viewers may recall that Delenn's replacement (Neroon) was from the Warrior Caste, and given the content of Delenn's speech, the four who stay behind are likely from that caste.
  • Cool Starship: The new Thunderbolt Starfuries capable of atmospheric flight.
  • Day of the Jackboot: The declaration of martial law and siege and capture of ISN marks the completion of Earth's slide into fascism.
  • The Dead Have Names: After the Alexander destroys the Clarkstown early in the episode, Major Ryan tells the other bridge officer the name of the Clarkstown's captain, and mentions some details about his family, having met them a few years before.
  • Deadline News: The feed is cut as the ISN studio comes under attack by government forces. The last we see of the broadcast is debris hitting the desk in front of the two reporters, Jane and Rick, after which the station goes off the air.
    • Slightly defied, as Jane is seen near the end of Season Four to have survived, albeit harrowed by her experiences in one of Clark's prisons.
  • Despair Event Horizon: With the arrival of the second wave of Clark's forces, plus Corwin reporting 4 more jump points opening right on top of the station, Sheridan assumes the worst—that the enemy has them surrounded. Sheridan tries to stay calm and firm, barely managing to ask how many jump points are opening as he closes his eyes.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: What Delenn's warning to the Clark-loyalist fleet boils down to. She knows her fleet will decimate Captain Drake's fleet in short order should they continue attempting to arrest Sheridan, and there's no better way to make that clear than to invoke Sheridan's victory over the Drala Fi, Earth's only victory in the war. Captain Drake, initially making this sort of threat himself, quickly realizes the implications of a Minbari fleet coming to the "Starkiller"'s rescue and wisely chooses to retreat.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: By forcing the issue and making a head-on charge into the boarding Earthforce troops, the Narns forced them to engage in battle with them and the Babylon 5 security troops in a relatively enclosed area away from the civilian population... and prevented some of their troops making their way to the command deck.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Mars Provisional Government was appointed by the Earth Alliance, and is (or at least was) widely seen as an Earthgov Puppet State. The fact such a government refused to ratify the martial law decree shows just how illegal the decree is.
  • Faceless Goons: The pilots bombing Mars are wearing opaque helmets. The crews of the attacking Earthforce ships are also never seen, just voices on the radio.
  • Foreshadowing: After the destruction of the Clarkstown, Major Ryan solemnly talks about how General Hague introduced him to its now late captain. He also says that he'll try to find something to say to both of their wives, implying that General Hague was also killed.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: Ivanova and Sheridan debate asking for Draal's help. Sheridan wants to keep Draal a secret and wants the fight to be "clean" - Earthforce vs Earthforce. When the second wave of Earth ships arrives, it seems to be implied that Sheridan would give up. Word of God from JMS is that Sheridan didn't want to give Clark the excuse to try again and de-legitimize B5 in the eyes of the Earthforce rank and file. President Clark has the Shadows as allies and they would ambush the station later in the series. invoked
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When the Gunship Rescue forces the second Earth Alliance task force to jump out, they do not use the nearby jumpgate they arrived through a moment ago before advancing on the station. They are in such a rush to get out they open their own jump point.
    • Which would be why they used the jump gate to arrive. Jump engines take time to charge up, using a local jump gate means you have fully charged jump engines in case you need to beat a hasty retreat. . . and three Minbari warcruisers and an unidentified ship commanded by a righteously pissed Minbari is a very good reason to decide to be somewhere else.
  • Held Gaze: The purely platonic variant between best friends and True Companions Sheridan and Ivanova, when she leaves the command deck to join the Starfuries and they see each other in person for what they know might very well be the last time. Fortunately, it isn't.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Delenn accuses the Council of this, standing by as the Shadows' influence grew. It's true that Delenn had been doing the same, but she had been quietly making preparations. The Council had outright stated that they were doing nothing, as they were in denial that the return of the Shadows was really happening.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • When the Churchill is too damaged to fight any more, they ram another destroyer, enabling B5 and the Alexander to take care of the rest of the enemy ships.
    • Rick clearly knows what reporting against Clark will bring him, but the bombing of civilian targets and military forces storming the ISN headquarters are things he cannot ignore and before things get worse, he will do his job as a reporter and tell the truth.
    • And the scores of Narn (and security forces) who gave their lives to the defense of the station which served as their Sanctuary after the fall of their homeworld.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The gag reel for this episode includes a bit referencing Robert Foxworth getting double-booked to play Admiral Leyton in the "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" two-parter on B5's rival show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asked where Hague is, Bruce McGill (Major Ryan) responds completely deadpan:
    "General Hague is doing Deep Space Nine. (everyone on set cracks up) It seems he was double-booked by his agent, there was nothing to be done. You'll have to deal with me, sir."
  • Hollywood Tactics: Garibaldi arranges a sensible defense to repel the invaders, but the Narns don't listen and charge headlong to the entry point. Garibaldi is forced to abandon the defensive position to back them up. The result is a more gruesome fight with the boarding party, albeit one that traps them in an isolated area away from civilians and the command deck.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Sheridan to Delenn, the first time he sees her after she comes riding to his rescue.
    Sheridan: I want you to know that seeing your face at that moment was probably the single finest moment of my life.
    Delenn: It seems this is the only home we have left. How could I abandon, as you say, my partner?
  • Intrepid Reporter: Rick from ISN. Knowing that ISN is about to be shutdown, he interrupts a live news cast to expose (as much as he can) what Clark's regime has been keeping underwraps for the past year. He is clearly afraid, but pushes through anyway. We never see him again, sadly, suggesting that he might not have survived this.
  • I Warned You: Delenn's righteously indignant speech before the Grey Council, in which she reminds them she's been telling them for three years.
  • Killed Offscreen: The Agrippa/Roanoke wave of the attack had two Midwinter-class Heavy Cruisers with them, but we never saw them fight. They were apparently destroyed offscreen, possibly by the EAS Churchill. See What Happened to the Mouse? below.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The Narns on Garibaldi's defense force rush ahead of him and straight into enemy fire, getting a lot of them killed in the process. This did have the (probably unintended) effect of forcing the boarders to engage in a pitched battle pretty much straight out of the breach pod, containing them away from civilian areas and the command deck.
  • Line in the Sand: Sheridan gives this line to everyone in C&C before the battle. One background extra decides to Opt Out; everyone else stays.
  • Meaningful Name: The EAS Roanoke is named after an early English colony in North Carolina that was later found to be totally deserted with no sign of the inhabitants (or of a struggle), just the word CROATAN carved into a tree.
    • The Agrippa could've been named after the Roman General Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, or, the Biblical (and historical) Herod Agrippa.
    • The second wave of Earthforce ships that arrive are the Nimrod and the Olympic.
    • The EAS Alexander is named after Alexander the Great. The Churchill is, obviously, named after Winston Churchill, whom Sheridan has referenced before.
  • Moment Killer: Really, Ivanova, Garibaldi, and Franklin? You couldn't have given our lovebirds one more minute together?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Sheridan's face when he is informed that four jump points are forming right on top of them. Luckily for him, it's a coldly furious Delenn with the White Star, three Minbari war cruisers, and no intention of allowing Babylon 5 to be overrun.
    • Just before that, Corwin's reaction to the news that a second wave of Earth destroyers was attacking.
    • Said second wave gets the hell out of B5 space when they realize the fact the Minbari are protecting the only Earthforce captain who managed to defeat one of their warships means they're screwed.
  • Old-School Dogfighting: Seen when the two sides of Starfuries engage each other.
  • Playing Both Sides: The Minbari Ranger whom Delenn brings to Medlab confirms that the League worlds are being encouraged by the Shadows to be aggressive towards each other, in addition to using the Centauri.
  • Resign in Protest: One member of the bridge crew refuses to go along with Sheridan's succession. To his credit he does so peacefully and with dignity; not yelling or calling anyone traitors or anything, he just quietly hands his work pad to a colleague and leaves without a fuss.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • A single Bridge Bunny leaves the deck when Sheridan gives permission for anyone to do so before the battle, in a deliberate subversion of the typical scene where everyone shows Undying Loyalty at such an order. JMS later said that was a deliberate choice on his part, to show that even on the station not everyone believed in what Sheridan was doing.invoked
    • Note that when retreating, the Earthforce reinforcements don't bother using the Jumpgate they came in through, they just hightail it out with their own jump point.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Delenn lets the Grey Council have it for their absurdly aloof view of what's going on at B5.
  • Slow Clap: At the end when the crowd shows their approval of Sheridan's actions.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: When ISN goes off the air.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Nightwatch's presence aboard the station in the aftermath of the attack. As Garibaldi grimly notes to Sheridan, they're shipping out everybody they detained in the previous episode. But, as this is Nightwatch, there are almost certainly more operatives or loyalists onboard the B5 team didn't know about or missed. So, Sheridan and Garibaldi both grimly anticipate acts of sabotage in the coming days and weeks (which leads into the next episode).
  • Symbolically Broken Object: When Delenn dissolves the Grey Counsel, she also breaks the staff traditionally held by the leader of the Grey Counsel.
  • Tempting Fate: Corwin after the two opposing Earthforce destroyers are destroyed.
    Corwin: It's a good thing [the battle] ended when it did. We wouldn't have been able to take much more. [his board beeps] Oh, no!
    [Cue second wave of Earthforce destroyers.]
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The second of Delenn's trio of blisteringly awesome speeches this episode, comprehensively dressing down the Gray Council for its indolence.
    Delenn: Three years. For three years I warned you this day was coming, but you would not listen. "Pride," you said, "presumption." And now the Shadows are on the move! The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war, the Narns have fallen, even the Humans are fighting one another. The pride was yours, the presumption was yours. For a thousand years, we have been awaiting the fulfillment of prophecy. And when it finally happens, you scorn it, you reject it because you no longer believe it yourselves. "We stand between the candle and the star, between the darkness and the light." You say the words but your hearts are empty, your ears closed to the truth. You stand for nothing but your own petty interests. "The problems of others are not our concern." I do not blame you for standing silent in your shame. You, who knew what was coming, but refused to take up the burden of this war. If the warrior caste will not fight, then the rest of us will. The council has lost its way. If it will not lead, if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen— [grabs the council staff]— then the council should be broken[breaks staff]—as was prophesied! We must stand with the others now before it's too late. Between the worker caste and the religious caste, we control two thirds of our forces. To you, I say, listen to the voice of your conscience. Break the council and come with me. Our time of isolation is over. We move now, together, or not at all!
  • Taking You with Me: With the Churchill badly damaged, Hiroshi chooses to ram another destroyer to even the losses.
    Ryan: Hiroshi! Get out of there! Get to the life pods!
    Hiroshi: Too late to get out. Our primary systems are hit, we've got fire on all decks now. There's nothing we can do except... [comms cut out]
    Ryan: Hiroshi?! Hiroshi!
  • Vertigo Effect: One on Sheridan right after Hiroshi informs him that Earthforce is coming to seize control of the station.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: When colonial governments refuse to implement the illegal laws, Clark responds with force.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Major Ryan personally knew the commander of the Clarkstown. He lampshades the worst part about fighting in a Civil War: You know every single person you kill in battle.
  • Wham Episode: President Clark orders Mars bombed for refusing to enact martial law, resulting in two colonies breaking away from the Earth Alliance. To avoid losing more outposts, Clark sends Earthforce squads to multiple colonies and outposts, including Babylon 5, to assert authority over them, resulting in Babylon 5 joining the breakaway colonies, meaning the main setting is no longer an Earth Alliance outpost but an Earth Alliance breakaway state. Delenn faces down—and breaks—the Grey Council.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Rick's fate is never revealed, although when Jane reappears later, she mentions than many of those imprisoned by Clark were tortured and killed, so it doesn't look too good for him.
    • Similarly, two of the four Earthforce ships that arrive with the first wave to attack B5 simply disappear after their first appearance. Word of God is that they were destroyed in the fighting; this was filmed, but cut from the final episode for time.invoked
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Delenn delivers one to the Grey Council for their inaction.
  • You Are in Command Now: Major Ryan takes over after General Hague is killed in combat.


Video Example(s):


Delenn Saves Babylon 5

"Severed Dreams". After declaring independence from EarthGov in the wake of President Clark's coup d'etat, Babylon 5 and its allies have barely defeated two EarthForce destroyers sent to capture the station, when three more ships arrive. At that moment, Delenn arrives with a flotilla of far superior Minbari Sharlin-class War Cruisers, and issues the warning, "Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else." The attackers promptly retreat.

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCavalry

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